Restaurants in Essex: “I’ve tried the best Italian restaurant in Essex and it’s the best pasta I’ve ever had” – Hope Woolston

Essex has many excellent restaurants, so being ranked among the best is a big deal.

A small restaurant just outside Braintree has achieved this goal.

Il Salice Italian in Cressing is not only the highest rated Italian restaurant in the county but also number three of all restaurants in Essex.

Read more: Food and drink in Essex

This restaurant promises fresh, traditional cuisine with everything made on site.

Reviews from diners describe it as a family restaurant that “will not disappoint”.

With so many five-star reviews, Life Writer Hope Woolston went to see how good it really was

Il Salice

Il Salice in Cressing

Although listed as being in Braintree, ll Salice is about a 10 minute drive from the town centre.

Nestled in Cressing, it is surrounded by countryside.

It’s easy to find because the green, lighted sign really stands out.

From the outside, the restaurant looks quite large, but it’s a whole different story once inside.

The room our table was in was quite small, with only about five or six tables – very intimate.

It has a nice atmosphere, with a fire, background music and a very relaxed atmosphere.

In no time we had menus to look at and had ordered a few drinks.

The food

my starter
my starter

The menu isn’t huge, but everything looks delicious.

To start, I ordered Bruschetta Al Gamberoni – marinated king prawns on rustic Tuscan bread.

My other half went for the Caprino Con Pancetta – Pancetta wrapped goat cheese on a bed of figs.

It wasn’t long to wait until they were served and they both looked amazing, the presentation was really good.

My starter was full of flavors, I could have eaten a full plate as a main course.

The prawns were delicious and perfectly cooked.

Caprino with pancetta
Caprino with pancetta

My partner also enjoyed his starter very much, he just wished the goat cheese was a bit stronger – but again he is a huge cheese lover.

The main course was the hardest to choose because there were so many dishes that looked amazing.

As a huge pasta lover I decided this was the way to go and ordered the Tagliatelle Alla Carbonara, my fiancé’s eyes lit up when he saw the Pizza Romana with anchovies, olives and capers, so it was an obvious choice.

The gap between the entrances and the sector was perfect.

My pasta
My pasta

When our dishes arrived, again they looked great but smelled even better.

I was offered parmesan on my pasta but opted to skip it as it looked so tasty on its own.

My pasta was amazing.

The pizza
The pizza

It was clearly freshly made and I can honestly say it was the best pasta I have ever eaten.

There was a lot of sauce which was very creamy and just delicious.

The pizza was equally impressive and had a perfect crispy base.

Puddings and drinks


Portions at Il Salice are perfect.

After our main courses, we were comfortably full, but felt like we had room for desserts.

We were so happy when we saw them.

In addition to the usual menu, Il Salice also offers a special menu and handmade white chocolate profiteroles.


I was hooked as soon as I heard this so these are what I ordered and they were amazing.

They were perfectly sweet with a light batter – gorgeous.

My partner had the Tiramisu which he also enjoyed very much.

In terms of drinks, Il Salice offers many options, including several gins.

Tried the pink gin which was nicely presented with mint and orange and tasted just as nice.

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Final Thoughts

I would recommend a trip to Il Salice to anyone.

The food was amazing, very fresh and full of flavor.

In addition to the food, the service was also second to none.

The family atmosphere is amazing and it’s obvious that all the staff care a lot about the restaurant and the customers.

It’s not the cheapest place to eat, but it doesn’t break the bank either and is definitely worth it.

Things to know

  • Il Salice is located at The Street, Cressing, CM77 8DQ
  • They open: Tuesday to Thursday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday 12 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • A special Sunday lunch menu is available
  • There are a few vegetarian options
  • Alcohol is served
  • There is parking for dinners
  • You must book and you can only do this by calling 01376 791786

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